This year as the kids head back-to-school, we want to give them every head start that we can. Strong immune systems are always important when heading into a busy school year, but this year they are critical. Today let’s talk about the nutrients that are most important, and which foods you can focus on to get them into your child’s diet every day.
Important Nutrients For Kids
Our kids use every bit of fuel we give their little bodies, and they’re not only using it for energy. Good nutrition is shaping the way they grow, how their minds sharpen and awaken, and how their bodies react to the environment around them. That’s why it’s so important to give them the armor they need to face new challenges when they head back-to-school. Every day, your child should be consuming these essential nutrients, whether it be from the food they eat, or from a combination of food and supplements – such as a chewable multivitamin.
Protein – Is essential for growing bodies, it helps build and repair vital tissues that support organs, bones and muscles. Protein also creates energy and helps the body fight off infection. Good sources of protein include:
- Lean Meat and Poultry
- Dairy Products
- Nuts and Beans
Carbohydrates – Your child’s most important source of energy and another vital source for building and repairing their body’s vital tissues. The majority of your child’s carbohydrate intake should come from fiber and starches, rather than sugar. Here are some good sources of carbohydrates:
- Whole-grain Cereals
- Brown Rice
- Whole-grain Breads
Fats – Good fats help fuel your child’s growing body and brain and help it to absorb the essential nutrients it needs. There are essentially three types of fats:
- Unsaturated Fat – Healthy fat found in avocados, olives, fish, nuts, etc. You should focus on these fats as your child’s primary source of fat.
- Saturated Fat – Found in meat and animal products such as butter and full-fat dairy. Use these fats in moderation.
- Trans fat – Found in processed snack foods, baked goods, and fried fast food. These fats should be avoided as much as possible.
Fiber – Very important for helping to regulate your child’s bowels. Gut health is essential for all of us. A daily probiotic like Multi Probiotic Kids by Douglas Labs can be very beneficial for your back-to-school child, as well as a healthy diet including these high-fiber foods (or fiber supplements):
- Nuts and Seeds
- Lentils and Kidney Beans
Essential Vitamins and Minerals – The remainder of your child’s diet should be filled with vitamin and mineral rich fruit, vegetables and whole grains. These are some of the most important daily nutrients for your growing child to help fight off infection as well as grow the mind and body include:
- Calcium – low-fat dairy, broccoli, spinach, egg yolks and tofu.
- Folate – Asparagus, spinach, Brussels sprouts, lentils and black beans.
- Vitamin A – carrots, broccoli, cabbage, squash, and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin C – citrus fruits, strawberries, mangos, melons, potatoes and tomatoes.
- Iron – red meat, beans, nuts and whole grains.
Help arm your child with the fuel they need to head back to school. What are some of your back-to-school must-haves? Tell us in the comments below!